Tag Archives: research

Is there something really wrong with a society with depressed preschoolers????

1 Jul


Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read this article from Science Daily, Brain Differences Seen in Depressed Preschoolers:




A key brain structure that regulates emotions works differently in preschoolers with depression compared with their healthy peers, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.


The differences, measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), provide the earliest evidence yet of changes in brain function in young children with depression. The researchers say the findings could lead to ways to identify and treat depressed children earlier in the course of the illness, potentially preventing problems later in life. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701172022.htm


Really. We have depressed preschoolers? Should one have experienced more about life before developing a negative opinion of it?


The National Institute of Mental Health in the Depression in Children and Adolescents (Fact Sheet) estimates about “About 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18.”


About 11 percent of adolescents have a depressive disorder by age 18 according to the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). Girls are more likely than boys to experience depression. The risk for depression increases as a child gets older. According to the World Health Organization, major depressive disorder is the leading cause of disability among Americans age 15 to 44.


Because normal behaviors vary from one childhood stage to another, it can be difficult to tell whether a child who shows changes in behavior is just going through a temporary “phase” or is suffering from depression.






Statistics for the numbers of preschoolers who exhibit depression are hard to come by, but researchers are beginning to study the issue.


Pamela Paul reports in the New York Times article, Can Preschoolers Be Depressed?


But generally speaking, preschool depression, unlike autism, O.D.D. and A.D.H.D., which have clear symptoms, is not a disorder that is readily apparent to the casual observer or even to the concerned parent. Depressed preschoolers are usually not morbidly, vegetatively depressed. Though they are frequently viewed as not doing particularly well socially or emotionally, teachers rarely grasp the depth of the problem. Sometimes the kids zone out in circle time, and it’s mistaken for A.D.H.D., “because they’re just staring,” explains Melissa Nishawala, the child psychiatrist at N.Y.U. “But inside, they’re worrying or thinking negative thoughts.” More often, they are simply overlooked. “These are often the good kids who tend to be timid and withdrawn,” says Sylvana Côté, a researcher at the University of Montreal who studies childhood mood and behavioral disorders. “It’s because they’re not the oppositional, aggressive children who disrupt everyone in class that their problems go undernoticed.”


Many researchers, particularly those with medical training, are eager to identify some kind of a “biologic marker” to make diagnosis scientifically conclusive. Recent studies have looked at the activity of cortisol, a hormone the body produces in response to stress. In preschoolers who have had a diagnosis of depression, as in depressed adults, cortisol levels escalate under stressful circumstances and then fail to recover with the same buoyancy as in typical children.


But in adults, cortisol reactivity can be an indication of anxiety. Other research has found that in young children, anxiety and depression are likewise intertwined. At Duke, Egger found that children who were depressed as preschoolers were more than four times as likely to have an anxiety disorder at school age. “Are these two distinct but strongly related syndromes?” asks Daniel Pine of the N.I.M.H. “Are they just slightly different-appearing clinical manifestations of the same underlying problem? Do the relationships vary at different ages? There are no definitive answers.”


Further complicating the picture is the extent to which depressed children have other ailments. In Egger’s epidemiological sample, three-fourths of depressed children had some additional disorder. In Luby’s study, about 40 percent also had A.D.H.D. or O.D.D., disruptive problems that tend to drown out signs of depression. Though it looks as if only the children with depression experience anhedonia, other symptoms like irritability and sadness are shared across several disorders. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/magazine/29preschool-t.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0


There is no one single cause of depression.


The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says this about the causes of depression:



Depression has no single cause. Both genetics and the environment play a role, and some children may be more likely to become depressed. Depression in children can be triggered by a medical illness, a stressful situation, or the loss of an important person. Children with behavior problems or anxiety also are more likely to get depressed. Sometimes, it can be hard to identify any triggering event. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/Depression_Resource_Center/FAQ.aspx



Moi would theorize that these preschoolers are picking up stressors form unhealthy family situations and an unhealthy society.



Everyone would probably have some thoughts about what makes a good society or a healthy society. Here are some thoughts from Professor Patrick W. Jordan about THE GOOD SOCIETY FRAMEWORK:



Relationships – the quality of people’s social, family and interpersonal relationships; the extent to which society is coherent and harmonious.

Economy – people’s degree of economic prosperity and spending power;the extent to which jobs are rewarding and offer potential for growth and development.

Environment and Infrastructure the pleasantness and sustainability of the natural environment; the degree to which the built environment is pleasant and functions well and extent to which the infrastructure is effective and efficient.

Health whether people have access to good healthcare and healthy food; whether work, home and public environments are generally safe.

Peace and Security whether crime is low and people feel safe in their homes and public areas; whether or not society is affected by war or terrorism.

Culture and Leisure whether there is a rich and rewarding culture, both high’ and popular’; whether there are opportunities to participate in rewarding leisure activities.

Spirituality, Religion and Philosophy whether there is access to religious and spiritual teachings and the opportunity to practice one’s religion of choice; whether there is access to philosophical teachings and ideas about how to live.

Education whether there is education that enables people to function effectively in society; whether the education is intellectually enriching.

Governance whether there is democracy, fairness and freedom of expression; whether justice is transparent and consistent, and whether society is governed with compassion and equality.                                                                            http://www.une.edu.au/faculties/professions/Resources/goodsocietyframework.pdf


Given Professor Jordan’s framework for a healthy society, one might ask how the U.S. is doing? Like the canaries in the mineshaft who die when overcome by poisonous gases, maybe the depressed preschoolers are telling us.



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Legal theft: Education institutions claim copyright ownership of teacher and student work

3 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi read with interest that Prince Georges County was considering taking copyright ownership of student work. Ovetta Wiggins reports in the Washington Post article, Prince George’s considers copyright policy that takes ownership of students’ work:

A proposal by the Prince George’s County Board of Education to copyright work created by staff and students for school could mean that a picture drawn by a first-grader, a lesson plan developed by a teacher or an app created by a teen would belong to the school system, not the individual.

The measure has some worried that by the system claiming ownership to the work of others, creativity could be stifled and there would be little incentive to come up with innovative ways to educate students. Some have questioned the legality of the proposal as it relates to students.

There is something inherently wrong with that,” David Cahn, an education activist who regularly attends county school board meetings, said before the board’s vote to consider the policy. “There are better ways to do this than to take away a person’s rights.”

If the policy is approved, the county would become the only jurisdiction in the Washington region where the school board assumes ownership of work done by the school system’s staff and students.

David Rein, a lawyer and adjunct law professor who teaches intellectual property at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, said he had never heard of a local school board enacting a policy allowing it to hold the copyright for a student’s work.

Universities generally have “sharing agreements” for work created by professors and college students, Rein said. Under those agreements, a university, professor and student typically would benefit from a project, he said.

The way this policy is written, it essentially says if a student writes a paper, goes home and polishes it up and expands it, the school district can knock on the door and say, ‘We want a piece of that,’ ” Rein said. “I can’t imagine that.” http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/prince-georges-considers-copyright-policy-that-takes-ownership-of-students-work/2013/02/02/dc592dea-6b08-11e2-ada3-d86a4806d5ee_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

The Free Dictionary defines theft:

A criminal act in which property belonging to another is taken without that person’s consent.

The term theft is sometimes used synonymously with Larceny. Theft, however, is actually a broader term, encompassing many forms of deceitful taking of property, including swindling, Embezzlement, and False Pretenses. Some states categorize all these offenses under a single statutory crime of theft.

OK, moi gets that BIG INSTITUTIONS have been able to manipulate the rules to benefit them and their flow of $$$$. But, shouldn’t the game be fair???? Also, Prince Georges wants to take control of student creations. Really.

Here is an explanation from the UCLA Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research:

Who is an author and who is an owner?

Under the copyright law, the creator of the original expression in a work is its author. The author of a copyright is not the same thing as the owner of the copyright, although in many instances the author is also the owner.  See below.

Who is the owner?

Ownership of copyrightable works created at UCLA is determined in accordance with the UC 1992 Policy on Copyright Ownership. See the Who Owns What Chart and the UC Copyright Policy: www.universityofcalifornia.edu/copyright/systemwide/pcoi.html.

In general, copyrights are owned by the people who create the works of expression, with some important exceptions:

  • If a work is created by an employee of UCLA in the course of his or her employment, UCLA owns the copyright.

  • In most cases, the general rule is that faculty own those copyrightable works that they create as scholarly or aesthetic works. There are some exceptions, generally determined by project funding.  

  • In most cases, course work and syllabi that you create are your own, unless “exceptional university resources” or sponsored or departmental funds are used in the creation.

  • If you create the work in the course of sponsored research, or using special departmental funds, or are otherwise relying upon “exceptional university resources,” UCLA likely owns the copyright and you should disclose it to OIP for further evaluation and discussion.

  • Works that are “made for hire” are generally the property of the organization that hired the contractor. Therefore, if you pay an outside vendor to create or assist in creation of a potentially copyrightable work, such as software, photographs, or video/film footage, you should be sure to have an advance, written agreement which specifies that the vendor is doing a “work for hire” and also agrees to assign all rights to the Regents. Feel free to contact OIP at 310-794-0558 for suggested language.                                 https://oip.ucla.edu/copyright/authorship-and-ownership

UCLA’s policy is typical of large research universities. It is not just universities who are claiming copyright in work product.

Tim Walker writes at the NEA site in the article, Legal Controversy Over Lesson Plans:

Anyway, if everybody sells everything on the Web, the thinking goes, then why can’t teachers peddle their lesson plans – original content created on their own time – over the Internet?

Maybe because there is a good chance that you don’t actually own the copyright to the classroom materials you produce.

Intellectual Property: It’s Complicated

This is a legal issue,” says Cynthia Chmielewski of NEA’s Office of General Counsel. “So if you want to sell your lesson plans online, make sure you actually own them.”

As far as Carol Sanders is concerned, she does.

This is America,” says Sanders, a veteran English teacher in Brooten, Minnesota. “My district does not own me. And I own what I create for the classroom.”

Right on the first two counts, but does Sanders also “own” the teaching materials she produces?

The short answer is . . . it depends.

If your employment contract assigns copyright ownership of materials produced for the classroom to the teacher, then you probably have a green light. Absent any written agreement, however, the Copyright Act of 1976 stipulates that materials created by teachers in the scope of their employment are deemed “works for hire” and therefore the school owns them.

Sanders and many of her colleagues, however, believe that if they create materials on their own time, using their own equipment, they surely have the right to do with them as they please.

Under the law,” explains Chmielewski, “this may not make a difference. The issue is whether you created the materials as part of your job duties.”

In 2004, a federal appellate court in New York ruled that “tests, quizzes, homework problems, and other teaching materials” were works made for hire owned by the district and that the “academic tradition” of granting authors ownership of their own scholarly work cannot be applied to materials not explicitly intended for publication. http://www.nea.org/home/37583.htm

Way back in the day, 1956, to be exact, C. Wright Mills wrote The Power Elite which talked about the concentration of power in the hands of a few. Mark Toma updated and explained Wright at Economist’s View in 2009.

In The Power Elite” Toma opines:

So what is Mills’s theory, exactly? It is that there is a small subset of the American population that (1) possess a number of social characteristics in common (for example, elite university educations, membership in certain civic organizations); (2) are socially interconnected with each other through marriage, friendship, and business relationship; (3) occupy social positions that give them a durable ability to make a large number of the most momentous decisions for American society; (4) are largely insulated from effective oversight from democratic institutions (press, regulatory system, political constraint). They are an elite; they are a socially interconnected group; they possess durable power; and they are little constrained by open and democratic processes.                                         http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2009/07/the-power-elite.html

BIG educational institutions are simply the part of “power elite” and they will operate just like “too big to fail” banks, unions, and untouchable lobbyists and dysfunctional government. Their only interest is their self-preservation.

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Critical thinking skills for kids are crucial: The lure of Superbowl alcohol ads

2 Feb

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Aside from the action on the field at the Superbowl, many folks tune into the game because of the half-time show and the over-the-top commercials. Critical thinking skills are lacking in many adults. Chldren not only may lack critical thinking skills, but may make poor choices because of their lack of maturity. Yolanda Evans, MD, MPH writes in the Seattle Children’s Hospital article, Alcohol Ads and Teen Drinking:

A recent article in the journal Pediatrics looked at 4,000 students in 7th grade and asked about alcohol use and alcohol ads on TV. They surveyed the teens through 10th grade. Though the number of teens participating decreased over time, they found some scary results. For both boys and girls, increasing exposure to alcohol ads over time and liking what they saw was associated with more alcohol use from 7th to 10th grade.  They also assessed alcohol related problems, like trouble with school, and found a significant association among boys and ads.

These results show that ads can affect behavior. So what can a parent do?

  1. limit screen time and exposure to mature subject matter. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen time to 2 hours a day. This helps decrease exposure, but also encourages teens to do something active with their time.

  2. Use the ads as an opportunity to talk about drug use. Let teens know that what they see in these ads is not reality. Talk about the dangers of alcohol. Short term effects include difficulty in school, possible alcohol poisoning, increased risk taking and long term include health problems like liver and heart disease.

  3. Set limits and talk about consequences before you need them. See our posts on the ‘free phone call‘ and ‘ground rules.’ Talk with your teen about expectations of their behavior and let them help decide on consequences if they break the rules.

  4. Check out our previous post on how to talk to your teen about drugs and alcohol for tips.

  5. If you’re worried your teen has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, talk with your teen’s health care provider. http://teenology101.seattlechildrens.org/alcohol-ads-and-teen-drinking/


Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems

  1. Jerry L. Grenard, PhDa,
  2. Clyde W. Dent, PhDb, and
  3. Alan W. Stacy, PhDa

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aSchool of Community and Global Health, Claremont Graduate University, Claremont, California; and
  2. bOffice of Disease Prevention and Epidemiology, Oregon Department of Human Services, Portland, Oregon

OBJECTIVE: This study used prospective data to test the hypothesis that exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in underage drinking and that an increase in underage drinking then leads to problems associated with drinking alcohol.

METHODS: A total of 3890 students were surveyed once per year across 4 years from the 7th through the 10th grades. Assessments included several measures of exposure to alcohol advertising, alcohol use, problems related to alcohol use, and a range of covariates, such as age, drinking by peers, drinking by close adults, playing sports, general TV watching, acculturation, parents’ jobs, and parents’ education.

RESULTS: Structural equation modeling of alcohol consumption showed that exposure to alcohol ads and/or liking of those ads in seventh grade were predictive of the latent growth factors for alcohol use (past 30 days and past 6 months) after controlling for covariates. In addition, there was a significant total effect for boys and a significant mediated effect for girls of exposure to alcohol ads and liking of those ads in 7th grade through latent growth factors for alcohol use on alcohol-related problems in 10th grade.

CONCLUSIONS: Younger adolescents appear to be susceptible to the persuasive messages contained in alcohol commercials broadcast on TV, which sometimes results in a positive affective reaction to the ads. Alcohol ad exposure and the affective reaction to those ads influence some youth to drink more and experience drinking-related problems later in adolescence.

Published online January 28, 2013 Pediatrics Vol. 131 No. 2 February 1, 2013
pp. e369 -e379
(doi: 10.1542/peds.2012-1480)

  1. » Abstract

  2. Full Text

  3. Full Text (PDF)

Moi wrote in Johns Hopkins University study: Advertising affects alcohol use by children:

Moi discussed alcohol use among teens in Seattle Children’s Institute study: Supportive middle school teachers affect a kid’s alcohol use:

Substance abuse is a serious problem for many young people. The Centers for Disease Control provide statistics about underage drinking in the Fact Sheet: Underage Drinking:

Underage Drinking

Alcohol use by persons under age 21 years is a major public health problem.1 Alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States, more than tobacco and illicit drugs. Although drinking by persons under the age of 21 is illegal, people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.2 More than 90% of this alcohol is consumed in the form of binge drinks.2 On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per drinking occasion than adult drinkers.3 In 2008, there were approximately 190,000 emergency rooms visits by persons under age 21 for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.4

Drinking Levels among Youth

The 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Survey5 found that among high school students, during the past 30 days

  • 42% drank some amount of alcohol.

  • 24% binge drank.

  • 10% drove after drinking alcohol.

  • 28% rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol.

Other national surveys indicate

  • In 2008 the National Survey on Drug Use and HealthExternal Web Site Icon reported that 28% of youth aged 12 to 20 years drink alcohol and 19% reported binge drinking.6

  • In 2009, the Monitoring the Future SurveyExternal Web Site Icon reported that 37% of 8th graders and 72% of 12th graders had tried alcohol, and 15% of 8th graders and 44% of 12th graders drank during the past month.7

Consequences of Underage Drinking

Youth who drink alcohol1, 3, 8 are more likely to experience

  • School problems, such as higher absence and poor or failing grades.

  • Social problems, such as fighting and lack of participation in youth activities.

  • Legal problems, such as arrest for driving or physically hurting someone while drunk.

  • Physical problems, such as hangovers or illnesses.

  • Unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity.

  • Disruption of normal growth and sexual development.

  • Physical and sexual assault.

  • Higher risk for suicide and homicide.

  • Alcohol-related car crashes and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, and drowning.

  • Memory problems.

  • Abuse of other drugs.

  • Changes in brain development that may have life-long effects.

  • Death from alcohol poisoning.

In general, the risk of youth experiencing these problems is greater for those who binge drink than for those who do not binge drink.8

Youth who start drinking before age 15 years are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21 years.9, 10 http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/underage-drinking.htm

See, Alcohol Use Among Adolescents and Young  Adults http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-1/79-86.htm


The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hairstyling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. Many boys look at the buff bodies of the men in the ads and don’t realize that some use body enhancing drugs. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe. It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society. Parents and schools must teach children critical thinking skills and point out often that the picture presented in advertising is often as close to reality as the bedtime fairy tail. Reality does not often involve perfection, there are warts.

See, Admongo http://ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/admongo/html-version.shtml

and How to Help a Child With Critical Thinking Skills http://www.livestrong.com/article/178182-how-to-help-a-child-with-critical-thinking-skills/#ixzz2Jlv5L6HR

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Annual freshman college survey: I’m so vain I thought the world revolved around me

6 Jan

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: For the past several years, the Higher Education Research Institute has published the Annual Freshman Survey:

Each year, hundreds of two-year colleges, four-year colleges and universities administer the CIRP Freshman Survey (TFS) to hundreds of thousands of entering students during orientation or registration.

The survey covers a wide range of student characteristics: parental income and education, ethnicity, and other demographic items; financial aid; secondary school achievement and activities; educational and career plans; and values, attitudes, beliefs, and self-concept.

Published annually in “The American Freshman,” the results from these surveys continue to provide a comprehensive portrait of the changing character of entering students and American society at large. http://www.heri.ucla.edu/cirpoverview.php

The Daily Mail has a fascinating article about the results of this survey.

In How college students think they are more special than EVER: Study reveals rocketing sense of entitlement on U.S. campuses, the Daily Mail reports:

Books aside, if you asked a college freshman today who the Greatest Generation is, they might respond by pointing in a mirror.

Young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation was revealed in a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966. 

Roughly 9 million young people have taken the survey over the last 47 years.

Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.

But in appraising the traits that are considered less individualistic – co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality – the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.

Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability.

While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts.

Also on the decline is the amount of time spent studying, with little more than a third of students saying they study for six or more hours a week compared to almost half of all students claiming the same in the late 1980s.

Though they may work less, the number that said they had a drive to succeed rose sharply.

These young egotists can grow up to be depressed adults.

A 2006 study found that students suffer from ‘ambition inflation’ as their increased ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations.

‘Since the 1960s and 1970s, when those expectations started to grow, there’s been an increase in anxiety and depression,’ Twenge said. ‘There’s going to be a lot more people who don’t reach their goals.’

Twenge is the author of a separate study showing a 30 per cent increase towards narcissism in students since 1979.

Karyl McBride, Ph.D. describes narcissism in a Psychology Today article.

In The Legacy of Distorted Love: Recognizing, understanding and overcoming the debilitating impact of maternal narcissism, McBride describes the traits of narcissists.

The following is adapted from the nine narcissistic traits listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.)

Am I Narcissistically Impaired?

Do I exaggerate my accomplishments and say I have done things I have not done? Do I act more important than others?

Am I unrealistic about my thoughts and desires regarding love, beauty, success, and intelligence? Do I seek power in these things?

Do I believe that I am so special and unique that only the best institutions and the highest academic professionals could possibly understand me?

Do I need to be admired all the time to the point of excess?

Do I have a sense of entitlement and expect to be treated differently and with more status than others?

Do I exploit others to get what I want or need?

Do I lack empathy and therefore never see what others are feeling or needing? Can I put myself in other people’s shoes? Can I show empathy?

Am I jealous and competitive with others or unreasonably, without logic, think that others are jealous of me?

Am I a haughty person who acts arrogant and “better than” with my friends, colleagues, and family?

And I add one more to this list:

Am I capable of authentic love, meaning I can give unconditional love to my children?

One interesting factor is this: If you are taking this test, worrying about your own parenting and asking accountability questions…you are not likely a narcissist! Breathe deeply again! Go to Yoga, pass Go, Collect a bunch of hugs!

See, Narcissistic Personality Quiz http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

Moi wrote about narcissistic children in You call your kid prince or princess, society calls them ‘brat’:

Here is today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Urban Dictionary defines brat:

1.A really annoying person.
2.A person that is spoiled rotten.
3.An annoying child that wants something that no one will get for him/her. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=brat

Most folks have had the experience of shopping in a store like Target and observing a child acting out or screaming at the top of his or her lungs. Another chance for observation of family interaction is dining out at a restaurant when children may act out. Without knowing the history, it is difficult to assess the root cause. Still, an observation of how the parent(s) deal with the tantrum is instructive about who is in control and where the power resides in a family. It appears that in many families the parents are reluctant to be parents and to teach their children appropriate behavior, boundaries, and manners….

The basis of manners and boundaries is simply the “Golden Rule.”

The Tanenbaum Center which honors the work of the late Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum has a really good definition of the “Golden Rule” which is stated in an interview with Joyce Dubensky entitled, The Golden Rule Around the World

At its simplest, it’s really just “being kind.” Caring about other people. That means putting that kindness into action and treating people with compassion. It means trying to understand people’s beliefs and needs. It means not harming others and actively working to eliminate harm….
What concrete steps can people take to start to put the Rule into practice?

Practically, there are steps that institutions and individuals can take to make a difference.

Institutionally, there are anti-discrimination and accommodation policies you can put into place to ensure that employees aren’t unduly thwarted in their ability to practice their religions. Educational institutions can make sure that teachers are properly trained to create inclusive, multi-cultural and multi-religious classrooms. And hospitals can work proactively with patients who may not want treatment that conflicts with their religion.

There are also things we can all do on the individual level. We can notice people who are not from our own group – people who have different practices or beliefs – and be interested in them. We can be curious about who they are and what their lives are like, without applying stereotypes. We can ask questions with curiosity and respect and truly listen to and digest the answers. And we can be willing to share about ourselves, our own beliefs and our own experiences.

Finally, we can work together, whether in workplaces, schools, community groups or governments to ensure that people from diverse backgrounds and viewpoints are
involved in decision-making. By making all voices heard – and really listening to each of those voices – we can solve many of the problems we face together.

And when we do that, we’ll get to the gold.

Some form of the “Golden Rule” is found in most religious traditions.

Children are not mature and adults can not expect the same level of maturity that most adults are presumed to have.Parents are not their child’s friend and have to provide guidance, direction, and boundaries. https://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/you-call-your-kid-prince-or-princess-society-calls-them-brat/

In the final analysis, for many children raised by narcissistic parents , it is not about you or US, but it is about ME. You will harvest what you plant.

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How relevant is a college education?

11 Nov


It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

In Critical thinking is an essential trait of an educated person moi said:           There is a great deal of dissatisfaction with the state of education in America. A lot of that dissatisfaction comes from the belief that the education system fails to actually educate children and to teach them critical thinking skills. The University of Maine at Augusta defines an educated person:

An educated person exhibits knowledge and wisdom; recognizes and respects the diversity of nature and society; demonstrates problem solving skills; engages in planning and managing practices; navigates the on-line world; writes and speaks well; acts with integrity; and appreciates the traditions of art, culture, and ideas. Developing these abilities is a life-long process. http://www.uma.edu/educatedperson.html

Essential to this definition is the development of critical thinking skills. http://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/22/critical-thinking-is-an-essential-trait-of-an-educated-person/

Robert W. Goldfarb has a provocative essay, How to Bridge the Hiring Gap in the New York Times:

So, this fall, I talked to about a dozen C.E.O.’s in a variety of industries, along with more than 135 graduates, to try to get to the bottom of this paradox.

Instead of finding shared interests linking those who need work and those who need workers, I uncovered a serious divide that limits the success of both.

Every C.E.O. I met described recent graduates as lacking the skills and discipline required in today’s workplace. They complained that young employees deemed themselves entitled to promotion before mastering their assigned tasks. All concluded, in effect, “Let them grow up on someone else’s payroll.”

I replied that my interviews with young people showed that many had records of part-time jobs and excellent grades at selective schools that seemed to make them promising candidates. But executives countered that recent graduates had emerged from universities whose weakened requirements didn’t prepare them for the complex jobs that companies must now fill.

Recent graduates say they are equipped to add value to any employer who hires them. An economics graduate from the University of North Carolina told me: “I’m sick of the bashing our generation gets. I had a 3.6 G.P.A. in a demanding major. Everyone in my dorm knew it would be difficult to land a job, so we held study groups where people in different disciplines shared information. We invited alumni to tutor us in skills and office protocol employers value. All I ask is a chance to prove I’m as good as the best of any generation.”

It’s true that companies are actively seeking petroleum engineers, systems designers, supply-chain analysts and other graduates armed with “hard” skills. But those who majored in English, philosophy, history and other liberal arts subjects are far less likely to be offered an interview, much less a job.

At one time, employers recruited liberal arts graduates whose broad education shaped an inquiring mind and the ability to evaluate conflicting points of view. Their education also brought a freshness of vision that saw alternatives to outdated practices. Graduates entered corporate training programs armed mainly with potential, but soon absorbed business disciplines. Veteran employees seeing that growth didn’t laugh when a trainee suggested a different approach to a chronic problem…. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/11/jobs/bridging-the-hiring-gap-for-college-graduates.html?ref=education&_r=0

Goldfarb is arguing the value of a liberal arts education which exposes the learner to a wide variety of philosophies and information.

If college evolves into just a certificate for a vocational career, then is less and less reason for students and families to spend the thousands and in some cases the hundreds of thousands of dollars for a college degree for a traditional brick and mortar education. See, Is online higher ed a threat to bricks and mortar colleges? http://drwilda.com/2012/09/17/is-online-higher-ed-a-threat-to-bricks-and-mortar-colleges/

Sarah D. Sparks wrote in the Education Week article Experts Begin to Identify Nonacadmic Skills Key to Success which examined some of the traits which can lead to success both in college and later life.

Dispositions for Success

Across education and industry, research by Mr. Sackett; Neal Schmitt, a psychology professor at Michigan State University in East Lansing; and others shows the biggest predictor of success is a student’s conscientiousness, as measured by such traits as dependability, perseverance through tasks, and work ethic. Agreeableness, including teamwork, and emotional stability were the next-best predictors of college achievement, followed by variations on extroversion and openness to new experiences, Mr. Sackett found.

If you take a close look at these commercial tests [given during job interviews], they are compound traits of the top three traits” predicting post-high school success, he said, and the top three traits are also closely associated with a student’s ability to perform well on a task and avoid bad work behavior, such as theft or absenteeism.

Each student’s personality is different, of course, Mr. Sackett said, but, “we have to differentiate between that and behavior.”

You can learn to behave contrary to your disposition,” he added. “You can learn to behave in dependable ways. For some people, it’s second nature, for others, it’s a real struggle.” Either way, he said, schools can teach and measure noncognitive, college-readiness skills just as they do reading or mathematics—and they may be just as important.

More and more researchers are beginning to study the concept of emotional intelligence. See, Business Balls.Com which has a concise summary of “emotional intelligence.” Employers are saying that there is a place for those trained in quality vocational education, but there is an increasing need for the educated person who possesses both critical thinking and emotional IQ skills. That recognition of what a college degree should mean seems to be missing from many academic programs.

An educated person is one who has learned that information almost always turns out to be at best incomplete and very often false, misleading, fictitious, mendacious – just dead wrong.
Russell Baker

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Where are the fathers? Problem is that it is NOT ‘Raining Men’

4 Nov

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Moi is a “bus chick” and rides the bus all over Seattle. Today’s bus adventure started in the University District on the #43 bus headed to downtown via Capital Hill. A world-weary young woman got on the bus with her son right in front of the American Apparel store on NE 45th Street. The little guy was very cute and a funny little chatter box. The bus snakes through the U-District and around the back side of Capital Hill. The little boy got very animated as the  bus crossed over the Montlake Bridge toward the city. Is this where daddy lives, he asked? Obviously this was a discussion the young woman didn’t want to have. No, we are going some where else. There is a story there and probably too much pain attached. Moi got to Capital Hill and went to the post office. Next stop for moi after the post office was the Mc Donalds on First Hill. While there, moi observed another world-weary woman in a wheel chair. It was hard to tell her age because there was a heavy cloak of too many cares that creased the lines of her face. She was accompanied by a child of about 10 or 12 whose gender was not readily apparent because of how they were dressed. The child was trying to be a child, yet the concern for the mother was obvious. Moi relates this story because according to Family Facts. Org  “The percentage of children born outside of marriage has skyrocketed, with a six-fold increase since 1960. Currently, the figure is highest among blacks, but the rate of increase is highest among whites and Hispanics.” http://www.familyfacts.org/charts/205/four-in-10-children-are-born-to-unwed-mothers

Unmarried Childbearing

(Data are for the U.S.)

  • Number of live births to unmarried women: 1,633,471
  • Birth rate for unmarried women: 47.6 births per 1,000 unmarried women aged 15-44 years
  • Percent of all births to unmarried women: 40.8%

Source: Births: Final Data for 2010, table C   [PDF – 1.3 MB]

More data

Karen Rowan wrote in the Washington Post article, Fathers play key role in teens’ sexual behavior, says study:

Fathers’ attitudes toward teen sex and the emotional closeness of their relationship with their teens have a sizable influence on their teens’ sexual behavior, separate from the influence of moms, a new review of studies suggests.

The review showed that dads’ attitudes toward teen sexual behavior were linked to the age at which teens first had sex. Teens whose dads approved of adolescent sexual activitytended to start having sex earlier than teens whose dads did not approve, according to studies in the review.

In addition, teens who were close to their fathers tended to start having sex later, the studies showed.

The findings “suggest that fathers may distinctly influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children,” said study researcher Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor of social work at New York University. “Fathers may parent in ways that differ from mothers, and therefore represent an additional opportunity to support adolescent health and well-being,” he said…. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/fathers-play-key-role-in-teens-sexual-behavior-says-study/2012/10/22/3c91138e-1957-11e2-b97b-3ae53cdeaf69_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend


Paternal influences on adolescent sexual risk behaviors: a structured literature review.

Guilamo-Ramos V, Bouris A, Lee J, McCarthy K, Michael SL, Pitt-Barnes S, Dittus P.


LCSW, Silver School of Social Work, New York University, 1 Washington Square North, Rm 320, New York, NY 10003-6654. vincent.ramos@nyu.edu.



To date, most parent-based research has neglected the role of fathers in shaping adolescent sexual behavior and has focused on mothers. The objective of this study was to conduct a structured review to assess the role of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior and to assess the methodological quality of the paternal influence literature related to adolescent sexual behavior.


We searched electronic databases: PubMed, PsychINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Family Studies Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Studies published between 1980 and 2011 that targeted adolescents 11 to 18 years and focused on paternal parenting processes were included. Methodological quality was assessed by using an 11-item scoring system.


Thirteen articles were identified and reviewed. Findings suggest paternal factors are independently associated with adolescent sexual behavior relative to maternal factors. The most commonly studied paternal influence was emotional qualities of the father-adolescent relationship. Paternal communication about sex was most consistently associated with adolescent sexual behavior, whereas paternal attitudes about sex was least associated. Methodological limitations include a tendency to rely on cross-sectional design, nonprobability sampling methods, and focus on sexual debut versus broader sexual behavior.


Existing research preliminarily suggests fathers influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children; however, more rigorous research examining diverse facets of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior is needed. We provide recommendations for primary care providers and public health practitioners to better incorporate fathers into interventions designed to reduce adolescent sexual risk behavior.



[PubMed – in process]

Kids in single parent households need stability and strong role models to improve their chances of success in later life.

Tips for Raising Boys

Andrea Engber writes at Single Mothers about how to raise a son without a father present in the house.

1.        Accept your son’s differences.

2.        Never make him the man around the house. True, you want to teach him to grow to be man, but there is a distinction between being the “little man” and being responsible for things that adults are supposed to do. Your child is not your confidant, your knight in shining armor or your rescuer….

3.        When you look at your child and see his father’s face, it’s okay to get a little emotional. After all, if your ex gave you anything of value, you’re looking at it. Let your son know how important he is to you.

4.        Point out the positive qualities in men you see on a day to day basis. This means that even if you’re buying your son baseball cleats and the salesman is especially attentive or friendly, point this trait out by mentioning what a helpful person he is, or “Isn’t this man very nice?”

5.        Be a little creative in helping your child learn guy stuff. For instance, many single mothers report concern over their son’s using the potty while sitting, or playing with their makeup. Chances are, your child won’t spend the rest of his life peeing sitting down while wearing mascara. Homosexuality doesn’t exist because you didn’t monitor the morning makeup sessions! But if you want to get a head start on defining the differences between secondary sex characteristics between males and females, try this: Set out a little basket just for him. Fill it with a mock razor, gentle shaving cream, watered-down cologne, his toothbrush, toothpaste and a comb. Let him know this is what most guys do every morning to their faces.

6.        As your child matures, investigate local boys groups or clubs that he could join such as Cub Scouts. Don’t be intimidated by such sponsored events as Father/son boat races or picnics. Let the troop leader know that with the number of single parent families, you would be comfortable if the den would acknowledge parent-child events….

7.        Teach him your values, but let him express them uniquely. He’s a male and will respond to emotional situations somewhat differently than you might.

8.        If your boy is really active, get a chinning bar for his room for rainy days. Exercise is critical for all children, but in cases where boys can’t seem to center themselves as comfortably as girls, they might need other means of releasing excessive energy…. 9.        Role models are important and will be found in every aspect of your son’s life. Boys need men, but not necessarily fathers. Just because a father lives at home does not mean a boy is being “fathered.”

10.     Enjoy your time with your baby or toddler by not worrying about whether they are missing out on anything by not having “dad” around. At the same time, try not to avoid “daddy stuff” totally. Even though many children’s books feature animal families raised only by mom, it’s okay to read stories about all kinds of families to your child. Place a high value on male and female relationships in order to give your child a realistic perspective.

And remember, try not to have negative attitudes toward men, even if you became a single mother out of the most excruciating circumstances.

Note the importance her comments place on providing good male role models in successfully raising a boy.

The Role of a Father

Measuring Father Involvement did not have definite conclusions about the importance of a father’s involvement because of the lack of longitudinal or long range study of the father/child relationship, but it hinted at the importance of the relationship.  Some of the key findings from this review of incentives and barriers to father involvement include the following:

· Believing that a father’s role is important to child development and perceiving oneself as competent in the fathering role both serve as incentives to father involvement.

· Wanting the child and desiring to become a father may also be associated with father involvement.

· A man’s recollections of his own father-child experiences from childhood could serve either as barriers or incentives to involvement.

· Egalitarian beliefs may lead to more father-child interactions in general, and more beneficial father-child interactions for girls in particular.

· The father’s psychological well-being serves as a moderator of father involvement. High levels of stress and depression create barriers for father involvement, whereas high self-esteem increases the likelihood of father involvement.

· Early fatherhood appears to be a barrier to father involvement. On-time fatherhood (i.e.,becoming a father in one’s 20’s) increases the amount of father involvement above that of teen parents, but delaying fatherhood until one’s 30’s or even the 40’s may also yield benefits for children in increased father-child contact and more affectionate and cognitively-stimulating interactions.

· A harmonious father-mother relationship enhances the likelihood of frequent and positive father child interactions within two-parent families. Conversely, marital conflict serves both as a barrier to father involvement and as a predictor of poor child outcomes. In situations where the father does not reside with the child, father involvement is more likely if the mother perceives the father to be capable of successfully fulfilling the provider role.

· Being employed, and experiencing job satisfaction and low role stress are all associated with higher levels of father involvement. Conversely, unemployment or job instability, as well as high role stress, serve to minimize the likelihood that fathers will be and/or stay involved in their children’s lives.

· Additional support from friends, extended family, and institutions may help bolster father involvement in young children’s lives.  In addition, certain characteristics of the child may either increase or decrease the extent of father involvement.

The key finding from this study is that the involvement of a father in the life of his children is a process and a complex one, at that.

Male Role Models in Schools

A working paper, Teachers and the Gender Gap, from NBER reported the following.

Dee finds that gender interactions between teachers and students have significant effects on these important educational outcomes. Assignment to a teacher of the opposite sex lowers student achievement by about 0.04 standard deviations. Other results imply that just “one year with a male English teacher would eliminate nearly a third of the gender gap in reading performance among 13 year olds…and would do so by improving the performance of boys and simultaneously harming that of girls. Similarly, a year with a female teacher would close the gender gap in science achievement among 13 year olds by half and eliminate entirely the smaller achievement gap in mathematics.”

Female science teachers appeared to reduce the probability that a girl would be seen as inattentive in science, though this had no discernable effect on girls’ science achievement. However, female history teachers significantly raised girls’ history achievement. And, boys were more likely to report that they did not look forward to a particular academic subject when it was taught by a female.

Overall, the data suggest that, “a large fraction of boys’ dramatic underperformance in reading reflects the classroom dynamics associated with the fact that their reading teachers are overwhelmingly female.” According to the U.S. Department of Education’s 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey, 91 percent of the nation’s sixth grade reading teachers, and 83 percent of eighth grade reading teachers are female. This depresses boys’ achievement. The fact that most middle school teachers of math, science, and history are also female may raise girls’ achievement. In short, the current gender imbalance in middle school staffing may be reducing the gender gap in science by helping girls but exacerbating the gender gap in reading by handicapping boys.

Moi has never met an illegitimate child. Moi has met plenty of illegitimate parents. People that are so ill-prepared for the parent role that had they been made responsible for an animal, PETA would picket their house. We are at a point in society where we have to say don’t have children you can’t care for. There is no quick, nor easy fix for the children who start behind in life because they are the product of two other people’s choice, whether an informed choice or not.  All parents should seek positive role models for their children. For single mothers who are parenting boys, they must seek positive male role models to be a part of their son’s life. Boys and girls of all ages should think before they procreate and men should give some thought about what it means to be a father before they become baby daddy.

Unfortunately, it is NOT “Raining Men” where they are most needed in the role of “father.”

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Not P.C., but it is true, parents and parenting matter

24 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Many “progressives” want to put forth the idea that families don’t matter, particularly in low-income communities of color. It is a different story in middle and upper income “progressive” families as they “helicopter parent “their children. There are some awesome single-parent households, but moi is going all “OLD FART” on you and saying that children need two active, engaged,and involved parents to thrive.

Annie Murphy Paul has written the thoughtful Time opinion piece, Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools:

A study published earlier this month by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-Irvine, for example, finds that parental involvement — checking homework, attending school meetings and events, discussing school activities at home — has a more powerful influence on students’ academic performance than anything about the school the students attend. Another study, published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, reports that the effort put forth by parents (reading stories aloud, meeting with teachers) has a bigger impact on their children’s educational achievement than the effort expended by either teachers or the students themselves. And a third study concludes that schools would have to increase their spending by more than $1,000 per pupil in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement (not likely in this stretched economic era).

So parents matter — a point made clear by decades of research showing that a major part of the academic advantage held by children from affluent families comes from the “concerted cultivation of children” as compared to the more laissez-faire style of parenting common in working-class families. But this research also reveals something else: that parents, of all backgrounds, don’t need to buy expensive educational toys or digital devices for their kids in order to give them an edge. They don’t need to chauffeur their offspring to enrichment classes or test-prep courses. What they need to do with their children is much simpler: talk.

But not just any talk. Although well-known research by psychologists Betty Hart and Todd Risley has shown that professional parents talk more to their children than less-affluent parents — a lot more, resulting in a 30 million “word gap” by the time children reach age three — more recent research is refining our sense of exactly what kinds of talk at home foster children’s success at school. For example, a study conducted by researchers at the UCLA School of Public Health and published in the journal Pediatrics found that two-way adult-child conversations were six times as potent in promoting language development as interludes in which the adult did all the talking. Engaging in this reciprocal back-and-forth gives children a chance to try out language for themselves, and also gives them the sense that their thoughts and opinions matter. As they grow older, this feeling helps middle- and upper-class kids develop into assertive advocates for their own interests, while working-class students tend to avoid asking for help or arguing their own case with teachers, according to research presented at American Sociological Association conference earlier this year…. http://ideas.time.com/2012/10/24/the-single-largest-advantage-parents-can-give-their-kids/#ixzz2AEa6xWbi

This comment is not politically correct. If you want politically correct, stop reading. Children, especially boys, need positive male role models. They don’t need another “uncle” or “fiancée” who when the chips are down cashes out. By the way, what is the new definition of “fiancée?” Is that someone who is rented for an indefinite term to introduce the kids from your last “fiancée” to?

Back in the day, “fiancée” meant one was engaged to be married, got married and then had kids. Nowadays, it means some one who hangs around for an indeterminate period of time and who may or may not formalize a relationship with “baby mama.” Kids don’t need someone in their lives who has as a relationship strategy only dating women with children because they are available and probably desperate. What children, especially boys, need are men who are consistently there for them, who model good behavior and values, and who consistently care for loved ones. They don’t need men who have checked out of building relationships and those who are nothing more than sperm donors.

This Washington Post article made me think about the importance of healthy male role models in a child’s life. This article is about a good male role model, a hero. Number of Black Male Teachers Belies Their Influence

“I love teaching, and I feel like I am needed,” said Thomas, 33, of Bowie. “We need black male teachers in our classrooms because that is the closest connection we are able to make to children. It is critical for all students to see black men in the classrooms involved in trying to make sure they learn and enjoy being in school.”

The shortage of black male teachers compounds the difficulties that many African American boys face in school. About half of black male students do not complete high school in four years, statistics show. Black males also tend to score lower on standardized tests, take fewer Advanced Placement courses and are suspended and expelled at higher rates than other groups, officials said.

Educators said black male teachers expose students to black men as authority figures, help minority students feel that they belong, motivate black students to achieve, demonstrate positive male-female relationships to black girls and provide African American youths with role models and mentors.

The reason that teachers like Will Thomas are needed, not just for African American kids, is because the number of households headed by single-parents, particularly single women is growing. Not all single parent households are unsuccessful in raising children, but enough of them are in crisis that society should be concerned. The principle issues with single parenting are a division of labor and poverty. Two parents can share parenting responsibilities and often provide two incomes, which lift many families out of poverty. Families that have above poverty level incomes face fewer challenges than families living in poverty. Still, all families face the issue of providing good role models for their children. As a society, we are like the Marines, looking for a few good men.

Jennifer Aniston got into a flap about her opinion regarding single motherhood. As reported by the Celebitchy blog in the post, Bill O’Reilly Takes On Jennifer Aniston’s Pro-Single Mother Comments  Aniston said:

Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don’t have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing… that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents’ days when you can’t have children because you have waited too long. The point of the movie is what is it that defines family? It isn’t necessarily the traditional mother, father, two children and a dog named Spot. Love is love and family is what is around you and who is in your immediate sphere. That is what I love about this movie. It is saying it is not the traditional sort of stereotype of what we have been taught as a society of what family is.

See, Andrea Peyser’s Gals Being Lost in ‘No Man’ Land

Children need role models of both genders to develop a healthy self-esteem.

Niesha Lofing of Mc Clatchy Newspapers has a wonderful article which was reprinted in the Seattle Times, Father-Son Bonding Key to Development The article begins with the story of Mike and Brandon Mc Nealy, a father and son who built their relationship by working on 1979 Lincoln Continental and then describes their road trip across the country to the 30 major league baseball stadiums. The article has some great advice on how dads can connect with kids:

Why does the culture think that the opinion of any celebrity should be valued above common sense? Celebrities will often repeat the mantra that they are not role models and really want to work on their art or their craft. But, many young people look up to these babbling heads as if they are an example of the best way to live. For most young folks, a more realistic picture of single motherhood can be found at MTV’s Teen Mom.

Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D. writes in the Psych Central article, Fathering in America: What’s A Father Supposed to Do?

What’s a Father To Do?

  • Embrace your responsibility. Once you are a father, you are a father for life. The knowledge of fatherhood changes a man. It can be a source of pride and maturity or a source of shame and regret. Even if you have good reasons for not being actively involved, acknowledging your paternity is a minimal gift you can provide to your child. With it come many legal, psychological, and financial benefits. If you want to be in your child’s life, it also protects your rights to have time with your child should you and the child’s mother have a falling out.

  • Be there. In study after study, kids consistently say they would like to have more time with their dads. Regardless of whether a dad shares a home with the children and their mother, the kids need dad time. Working together on a chore or simply hanging out can be as meaningful as attending events or having adventures. Kids want to know their fathers. Just as important, they want their fathers to know them.

  • Be there throughout their childhoods. There is no time in a child’s life that doesn’t count. Research has shown that even infants know and respond to their fathers differently than they do to their mothers. The bond you make with a baby sets the foundation for a lifetime. As the kids get older, they’ll need you in different ways but they will always need you. Insistent toddler, curious preschooler, growing child, prickly adolescent: Each age and stage will have its challenges and rewards. Kids whose parents let them know that they are worth their parents’ time and attention are kids who grow up healthy and strong. Boys and girls who grow up with attention and approval from their dads as well as their moms tend to be more successful in life.

  • Respond to the needs of the kids, not your relationship with their mother. Regardless of whether you are getting along with your girlfriend or wife (present or ex), your relationship with the kids is exactly that: your relationship with the kids. The kids need predictability. They need care. They need a loving relationship with you. They need whatever financial support you can provide. None of these things should depend on whether you’ve had a disagreement or fight with their mom. None of these things should ever be withheld as a way to get even with her.

  • Be in a respectful and appreciative relationship with their mother. Being a good dad is certainly possible both inside and outside of marriage. Regardless of whether you and their mom can work out how to be a committed couple, you can support each other as parents. Kids grow best when their parents treat each other with respect and appreciation. The kids then don’t feel torn between the two people they love.

  • Do your financial share. Kids need to be fed, clothed, housed, and cared for. Children whose parents provide for them live better lives, feel valued, and have better relationships with both their parents. They need the role model of a responsible male acting responsibly. Just as they need you to be present in their lives, regardless of whether you live with their mom, they also need you to live up to financial obligations to the very best of your ability.

  • Balance discipline with fun. Some dads make the mistake of being only the disciplinarian. The kids grow up afraid of their dads and unable to see the man behind the rules. An equal and opposite mistake is being so focused on fun that you become one of the kids, leaving their mother always to be the heavy. Kids need to have fathers who know both how to set reasonable, firm limits and how to relax and have a good time. Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.

  • Be a role model of adult manhood. Both boys and girls need you as a role model for what it means to be adult and male. Make no mistake: The kids are observing you every minute. They are taking in how you treat others, how you manage stress and frustrations, how you fulfill your obligations, and whether you carry yourself with dignity. Consciously or not, the boys will become like you. The girls will look for a man very much like you. Give them an idea of manhood (and relationships) you can be proud of.

Beyond these considerations, there is little agreement about how an “ideal father” should behave. It doesn’t seem to matter (in terms of the mental health of children) whether fathers work out of the home or stay home with the kids. It doesn’t seem to matter what job a dad has or how much money a dad makes, as long as he is doing his best. It doesn’t seem to matter what his interests and skills are, as long as he shares them with his children. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a father is very physically affectionate or loves more quietly as long as the kids know that he most certainly cares about them. What matters is for fathers to be committed to their children and involved with them over time. When fathers take that responsibility seriously, their children are more likely to do well and the fathers have few regrets.

Jesse Washington of AP wrote a comprehensive article which details the magnitude of the disaster which is occurring in the African American community. In the article, Blacks Struggle With 72% Unwed Mother Rate which was reprinted at SeattlePI.Com Washington sounds an alarm which if you can’t hear it, makes you deaf.

This is not about racism or being elitist. This is about survival of an indigenous American culture. This is not about speaking the truth to power, it is about speaking the truth. The truth is children need two parents to help them develop properly and the majority of single parent headed families will live in poverty. Children from single parent homes have more difficult lives. So called “progressives” who want to make their Sex and the City life style choices the norm because they have a difficult time dealing with the emotional wreckage of their lives, need to shut-up when it comes to the survival of the African American community. This is an issue that the so called educated classes and religious communities have to get involved in.

If you are a young unmarried woman of any color, you probably do not have the resources either emotional or financial to parent a child(ren). If you don’t care about your future, care about the future of your child. If you want to sleep with everything that has a pulse, that is your choice. BUT, you have no right to choose a life of poverty and misery and misery for a child. As for those so called “progressives?” Just shut-up.

Michael Jackson said it best with the lyrics to Man In The Mirror

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Well duh, getting an HPV shot doesn’t make kids have sex

16 Oct

Here’s today’s COMMENT FROM AN OLD FART: Well, duh, some folks think that giving kids an HPV shot is the equivalent to snatching their minds and giving them a copy of the Kama Sutra. Let’s chew gum and walk. Charles Poladin is reporting in the Medical Daily article, The fear that the Human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination would lead to more promiscuous behavior in girls has been debunked in a new study.

The fear that human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination would lead to more promiscuous behavior in girls has been debunked in a new study. For the study, researchers compared medical outcomes of teen girls who received the HPV shot and teen girls who were not vaccinated. Both groups had similar outcomes in regards to the number of girls that were tested for a sexually transmitted disease, sought birth control, underwent a pregnancy test or became pregnant. The study was led by Robert Bednarczyk, from Emory University and a researcher at Kaiser Permanente. For the study, researchers from Kaiser examined up to three years of health plan data from 1,398 girls in Atlanta. Of the participants, 493 girls had the HPV shot while 905 girls did not.

The study did not focus on asking girls about their sexual activity instead, the researchers examined medical data after the girls had the HPV shot. Researchers looked for medical outcomes that signaled sexual activity. These outcomes would include seeking birth control, getting a pregnancy test, being tested for sexually transmitted diseases or becoming pregnant.

According to the researchers, based on medical outcomes, few girls engaged in sexual activity after getting a HPV shot. Nearly 90 percent of vaccinated and unvaccinated girls did not obtain birth control during the three years of the study nor did they get a pregnancy test or were tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Two girls in the vaccinated group and two girls in the unvaccinated group became pregnant during the time of the study. http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/12694/20121015/hpv-vaccine-lead-increased-sexual-activity.htm#GmaZZQwQmtKjPm1U.99

There are some good reasons that even those who are not sexually active may want to get an HPV shot. The fact is you not only sleep with a person, you are really sleeping with them and all their partners. According to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia article, Questions and Answers About HPV and the Vaccine:

I heard something about my son needing a particular HPV vaccine. Why does it matter?

Two HPV vaccines are available. One, Gardasil®, protects against four types of HPV – two types that commonly cause cervical cancer and two types that cause genital warts. It was tested for safety in both girls and boys. The other, Cervarix®, protects against the two types of HPV that commonly cause cervical cancer, but does not protect against the types that cause genital warts. Therefore, boys are recommended to receive Gardasil.

My daughter is not sexually active. Why should I even consider getting her vaccinated against HPV now?

The HPV vaccine is recommended before the start of sexual activity for two reasons:

  1. Young people tend to get infected more frequently; in fact, about half of all new infections are diagnosed in girls and young women between 15 and 24 years of age.
  2. It takes six months to complete the series of three vaccines, so even though your daughter may not be active now, or even in six months, it is better to have the series completed sooner rather than later.

I am already sexually active; should I still get the HPV vaccine?

Yes. The reason to still get the HPV vaccine even if you are already sexually active is that you may not have been exposed to all of the types of HPV that are contained in the vaccine.

Why does my son need an HPV vaccine since I heard it prevents cervical cancer?

Although HPV is a known cause of cervical cancer, the virus can also cause other cancers of the reproductive tract, anal cancer, penile cancer, genital warts, and on occasion, cancers of the head and neck. In fact, about 1 of every 3 cases of HPV-related cancers are in boys or men. Because vaccinating boys will also decrease the spread of the virus, they will not only protect themselves, but also their sexual partners. http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/prevent-hpv/hpv-questions-answers.html

So, if the HPV vaccine doesn’t make kids “do it,” then what does.

Moi has often mentioned that I am a “bus chick.” On a recent adventure, I had just finished grocery shopping and had a bunch of bags. I was waiting at the corner for the light to change and the walk sign to come on. A disheveled man slowly staggered across the street and the stench, which enveloped him, preceded him.  The light was green and he was crossing the street. Cars stopped and honked their horns, but he was oblivious. He got across the street to my corner. The walk sign came on and I crossed the street to catch my bus. The bus was there and the driver had all the doors and windows open. It was raining, but the driver said I could board early. He explained that one prior passenger had some “issues.” I told him that I had encountered that passenger. We began a conversation while waiting for the bus to depart.  

I told him I had seen the man crossing the street and I wondered what his story was. All children start life with so much promise, I said. At some point in the conservation, we started talking about families and he said let me tell you about my family and he did. I listened.

He has been living with a woman for several years and there is no thought of ever marrying.  He has four sons, the youngest is 19 years old. The older ones are sort of doing OK. The younger one had lived with him and his girlfriend for a while, but he didn’t take to school and didn’t want to study. His girlfriend didn’t want to be a “hall monitor” and there were personality differences between the girlfriend and the son. So, the son moved out and is living elsewhere, but his life is troubled. The girlfriend was married to a very abusive guy and she left him. She has four children, the oldest is 33 and has been depressed her whole life. She had a bout with meth and is currently taking a buffet of antidepressants. She has two children, a ten year old and a two year old. The ten year old’s father said he never wanted children and this woman had him to keep the father in the relationship. Of course he bolted and is a sporadic interference in the life of this child. The 10 year old has problems and for a time the girlfriend had sole custody because mom was such a druggie.  The two year old is a girl and mom is still breastfeeding her. Since she takes a buffet of antidepressants, the child is getting the drug cocktail through the breast milk.  This little girl is slow and does not have the speech that one would expect of a two year old.

The girlfriend’s other three children are not fairing much better. The 33 year old was kinda conceived to hold the girlfriend’s first marriage together. That obviously didn’t work. The girlfriend’s first husband had an affair and a baby outside that marriage. So, to patch things up, the first husband agreed to let her have the second daughter. She isn’t doing so well, either. The other two children were in his words, “mistakes.” The girlfriend’s youngest child is a 16 year old with extreme anger issues. The driver mentioned he slapped the kid when he tried to hit the girlfriend. They got into an argument about the kid slapping her. According to the driver, the kid routinely calls his mother slut and whore. He says he will let that pass, but if he tries to hit his girlfriend, he will intervene again.

Thankfully, it was time for the bus to leave and some other passengers came aboard. When I got to my stop, I thanked the driver for the ride and sent Blessings to his family.

I know that many want to define a family in many different ways, but a true family offers children a sense of continuity, stability, and security. Many modern couplings are transitory and the number of partners cycling through children’s lives in these serial relationships can sometimes be staggering. Many who rail against the children in the education system and their perceived deficiencies ought to ask themselves if you promoted the cultural and societal values which produced them.



Sexual Activity–Related Outcomes After Human Papillomavirus Vaccination of 11- to 12-Year-Olds

  1. Robert A. Bednarczyk, PhDa,b,
  2. Robert Davis, MD, MPHa,
  3. Kevin Ault, MDc,
  4. Walter Orenstein, MDc,d, and
  5. Saad B. Omer, MBBS, PhD, MPHa,b,c,d

+ Author Affiliations

  1. aCenter for Health Research-Southeast, Kaiser Permanente, Atlanta, Georgia; and
  2. bRollins School of Public Health,
  3. cSchool of Medicine, and
  4. dEmory Vaccine Center, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

OBJECTIVE: Previous surveys on hypothesized sexual activity changes after human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination may be subject to self-response biases. To date, no studies measured clinical markers of sexual activity after HPV vaccination. This study evaluated sexual activity–related clinical outcomes after adolescent vaccination.

METHODS: We conducted a retrospective cohort study utilizing longitudinal electronic data from a large managed care organization. Girls enrolled in the managed care organization, aged 11 through 12 years between July 2006 and December 2007, were classified by adolescent vaccine (HPV; tetanus toxoid, reduced diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis, adsorbed; quadrivalent meningococcal conjugate) receipt. Outcomes (pregnancy/sexually transmitted infection testing or diagnosis; contraceptive counseling) were assessed through December 31, 2010, providing up to 3 years of follow-up. Incidence rate ratios comparing vaccination categories were estimated with multivariate Poisson regression, adjusting for health care–seeking behavior and demographic characteristics.

RESULTS: The cohort included 1398 girls (493 HPV vaccine–exposed; 905 HPV vaccine–unexposed). Risk of the composite outcome (any pregnancy/sexually transmitted infection testing or diagnosis or contraceptive counseling) was not significantly elevated in HPV vaccine–exposed girls relative to HPV vaccine–unexposed girls (adjusted incidence rate ratio: 1.29, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.92 to1.80; incidence rate difference: 1.6/100 person-years; 95% CI: −0.03 to 3.24). Incidence rate difference for Chlamydia infection (0.06/100 person-years [95% CI: −0.30 to 0.18]) and pregnancy diagnoses (0.07/100 person-years [95% CI: −0.20 to 0.35]), indicating little clinically meaningful absolute risk differences.

CONCLUSIONS: HPV vaccination in the recommended ages was not associated with increased sexual activity–related outcome rates.

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